A Little About My WIP

I recall seeing a presentation by Robert J. Sawyer about “Writing in the Zeitgeist” at Keycon one year, and I was really glad to hear his thoughts on the subject.

The dictionary definition of Zeitgeist is “the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.” In his presentation, Sawyer encouraged writers to write about things that are relevant in the here and now of modern day – things that people feel passionate about, have opinions about, etc, and that doing so would help them find an audience of people who will enjoy the book.

I got thinking about it and how I’ve tried to follow that advice in my current work-in-progress lately for two reasons.

First is the obvious political climate. The rise of hatred we’re seeing right now is frightening, and unlike many previous generations, we have enough global awareness and memory of the last big time it happened that it’s disturbingly familiar.

So I’d been wanting to make a point of writing something that had more diversity in it than what I’d written before, so I came up with a black main character. But at the same time, I didn’t want to be taking over black people’s stories and telling their stories for them, so it wasn’t going to be a story about what it was like to be black or anything like that. I still wanted to be saying something about my feelings about racism and discrimination and such, though, so I thought a while about what I, as a white woman, had to offer.

And sometime around when I was coming up with the world my story is set in, Folklorama was on again. I hadn’t always realized it, but Folklorama is apparently, quite literally, the biggest multicultural celebration in the world. And I stopped to think about that, realizing that I live in one of the most multicultural cities in the world, in a country that has an official policy of not just tolerance of multiculturalism but embracing and celebrating multiculturalism as something that makes the country stronger.

And at the same time, Winnipeg also holds the title of the most racist city in Canada.

So when I thought about that, then I knew exactly what I have to bring to this conversation – it’s my experience living, not in a utopia of multiculturalism, but in a place that’s at least trying. A country and a city where that utopia of Star Trek’s Star Fleet is kind of the goal, but it’s a work in progress.

So what I decided to portray was just that – a society with government policy supporting multiculturalism, but people who are still struggling with it. A government that inconsistently applies those policies, governing people who disagree on how and to what extent those policies should be applied.

Sometimes the utopia seems like it’s just hopelessly far off. But I hope there’s room someday on the shelf in between all those dystopian YA novels, for a utopia in progress.

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Robocall Rally – Winnipeg

This blog was created as my writing blog. I realize that some people don’t like when a writer has an agenda, especially a political one. If you’re one of those people, you’re probably not my target audience, so full disclaimer: I will be posting political stuff on this blog and I will *not* apologize for it.

Today was a day of action for Canadians to protest electoral fraud. Across Canada, we marched, waving flags, and holding signs.

In Winnipeg, around three hundred people, including myself, met at River and Osbourne, where Kevin Lamoureux, MP for Winnipeg North, and former MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis gave speeches, calling for the Conservative Government to conduct full independent investigations into the robocall scandals. A petition was signed, and we marched to the office of the Winnipeg South Centre MP, Joyce Bateman.

The office was closed, and no one has been able to contact Mrs. Bateman. It’s like she didn’t want to hear what we had to say. </sarcasm>

It was not entirely unexpected. Obviously she has no defense, or she would have had something to say to us. Instead, we made do by singing O Canada outside her abandoned office.

The Conservative Government has refused to fully investigate the Robocalls. They’ve pointed the finger at the Liberals, demanded that the Liberals release their phone records (which they did) but then refused to release their own. What kind of person does that if they’re not a bunch guilty bastards? If they’re not behind it, let them clear themselves! But they won’t. The only reason anyone could possibly have refusing to release their own records, refusing to investigate, is if they have something to hide.

That’s the end of the story. They want to pass laws that allow police unlawful search and seizure rights – they want to be able to spy on our internet usage, and they want mandatory minimums for blue collar crime. Lets see some mandatory minimums for electoral fraud!

I am disgusted with our government and ashamed of it. It doesn’t even matter who was behind  the voter suppression calls, they happened, and the Government is responsible for finding out who threatened our democracy, punish them, and correct it by, at the very least, calling by-elections. But they won’t because they’re happy with the results and they know damn well, they’ve pulled so much BS in the last year that they would likely lose their majority.

This is the sort of thing that we send observers into developing countries to prevent. This is what Canada has fallen to. The only way we’re going to get rid of the Harper Government is if we march into parliament hill and drag them out of their offices kicking and screaming, because they’ll just lie and cheat their way out of anything else.